The Indian Navy is firm on its plans to have a third aircraft carrier despite Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat’s scepticism, and will approach the government for permission to initiate formal design consultancy, ThePrint has learnt. “The third aircraft carrier is an operational necessity,” a source in the Navy said. “It is not that an aircraft carrier can be bought off the shelf. Even if all permissions are given today, it will take 15 years for the carrier to be inducted.”

A second source said the Navy was moving ahead with the design consultancy phase for the carrier, adding that formal permissions would be sought. The Indian Navy currently operates one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, while the second, INS Vikrant, is under construction in Cochin, due for commissioning in 2022. Both vessels have a displacement — the measure of a vessel’s weight — of 45,000 tonnes each. Continue reading


Indian Air Force’s American-origin Chinook helicopters have started getting operationalised in the high-altitude locations including the Siachen glacier area in the Ladakh sector and are ferrying military equipment to higher reaches. The chopper was inducted into service in March last year.The Chinook choppers are now being used to ferry loads including heavy military equipment to high altitude areas along the borders with Pakistan and China in support of troops deployed there, IAF sources said.

“Chinook is a heavy lift, tandem rotor helicopter which serves armed forces of 19 countries. It is a multi-role platform and is used for the transport of troops and material among other roles. It will greatly enhance IAF’s HADR capability,” IAF said. Continue reading


Missile scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will physically open and examine the suspected cargo seized at Kandla port from detained Chinese ship Dai Cui Yun, bound for Port Qasim, Karachi, on Friday to ascertain whether the 2005 Indian law against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the UN convention on the same subject can be invoked against both the consignee and consignor.

Based on a high-level intelligence tip-off, the Department of Revenue Intelligence and Kandla Customs detained the Chinese ship on February 3 for misdeclaring a “dual use” industrial autoclave, which can be used in the manufacture of ballistic missiles, as an industrial dryer. The ship left the Chinese port of Jiangyn on January 17. Continue reading


China on Friday praised close-ally Pakistan’s enormous efforts in combating terror financing while playing down reports that it backed India and other countries against Islamabad at the just concluded FATF meeting in Paris that retained the country in the Grey List.

Asked about reports that China has joined India and other countries in sending a strong message to Pakistan and urging it to fulfil its commitments to fight terror financing and money laundering, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told an online media briefing here that the Financial Action Task Force meeting has decided to give Pakistan more time to implement its action plan on money laundering and terrorist financing. Continue reading


The non-visit of British Labour MP Deborah Abrahams to India has left some unanswered questions — about her visa of course, but also on what was reported, and what not. And a non-visit it was. Getting on a visit only so far as what is apparently labelled a deportee cell at the Indira Gandhi airport cannot be a visit she, or anyone in the Indian government might wish to remember.

Indian officials have pointed to two grounds for what seems on the face of it a rude refusal to an MP who intended a visit and turned up for it. One, that her visa had been cancelled on Feb 14, three days before she landed up. Two, that hers was a business visa, and meeting friends and relatives that she declared to be the purpose of the visit, is not business. We could hardly enter the debate whether family business can be covered by a business visa. Continue reading


Prime Minister Imran Khan (PM Khan) says Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology leading Modi government a big threat for minorities living in India. “RSS has a racist ideology, inspired by Hitler’s Nazism”, PM Khan says in an interview to Belgium Tv.The prime minister said that Pakistan offered India several times to resolve the long-standing issue of Kashmir with dialogue, but Indian side always ran away from the table talks.

Commenting on Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terror, he said thousands of Pakistanis sacrificed their lives in the war against terror and 2019 remained peaceful for Pakistan after 9/11.He said peace in Afghanistan can be brought through dialogues and first time in history a true way has been adopted for enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Continue reading


US President Donald Trump will raise concerns over rising trade barriers and tariffs during his India visit, which begins on Monday, but the onus for the announcement of a deal was “wholly” on India, senior Trump administration officials said Friday. The official took aim specifically at Make in India, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet programme, for making “the protectionism concerns in India even greater.”

“Whether or not there will be an announcement on a trade package is, really, wholly dependent upon what the Indians are prepared to do,” said one of the officials, who blamed the failure of the two sides to come to an agreement on a spate of recent announcement that made “discussions bit more difficult”. Continue reading


Ivanka Trump, the US president’s daughter and adviser, will be joining the presidential delegation that begins a two-day India visit on February 24, according to people familiar with the planning of the trip. With the first lady, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump will be third member of President Donald Trump’s family on the trip. Jared Kushner, her husband and senior adviser to the president, was already penciled in, and confirmed.

At least three cabinet members, Secretaries Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross and Dan Brouillette, will be accompanying the president. There was no word yet if Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative and and trade negotiator, will be a part of the delegation. This will be Ivanka Trump’s second visit to India after her father’s election — the first was in November 2017, as head of the US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad. She had shared the stare with Prime Minister Narendra Modi then, and been generally treated like royalty. Continue reading


With a trade deal off the table, India and the US are looking to focus sharply on defence cooperation during the two-day visit of US President Donald Trump to India, and will, in all likelihood, indicate a calendar for the signing of the third foundational military communication agreement between the two countries during the visit, top officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

Talks on the finalisation of the Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement (BECA) are scheduled to begin as early as March, one of the officials said. BECA will allow India and the US to exchange geospatial maps to get pinpoint military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles, apart from its civilian use. Continue reading


The “remarkable” decrease in the number of local youths joining various terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir has been a result of Operation ‘Maa’ launched by the army, which also targeted the leaderships of outfits “in a people friendly manner”, a top army officer said here. Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, who heads the strategic Kashmir-based XV corps, started Operation ‘Maa’ whereby a local terrorist trapped in an encounter is made to talk to his mother in a bid to convince him to return to his normal life.

“Nothing is lost until your mother can’t find it,” Lt Gen Dhillon said while explaining that the results of the operation were “worth noting”.
“In all operations, we extend every opportunity to local terrorists to ‘return’. Half way through, the encounters are halted and the parents or society elders are involved to urge the trapped local terrorist to ‘return’. This is Operation ‘Maa’ and we have been successful many times,” Lt Gen Dhillon informed. Continue reading


An exclusive theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir is at an “ideation stage” and there will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said on Thursday. Gen Naravane’s remarks come days after Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said there are plans to have a separate theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir which will include the IB (International Boundary) portion.

“It (theatre command for J&K) is at the ideation stage. The broad contours have not been finalised. There will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised. We must make a roadmap,” Gen Naravane told a select group of reporters. Rolling out big ticket military reforms, Gen Rawat on Monday had said India will have two to five theatre commands to deal with future security challenges along the western and northern borders and the first one is expected to be operational by 2022. Continue reading


The fear of violence during the visit of US President Donald Trump likely led to a sudden postponement of the Panchayat body elections in Jammu and Kashmir, several government officials told HT on condition of anonymity. The sudden deferment was announced late on Tuesday night through a notification issued by the chief electoral officer (CEO), Shailendra Kumar. “Credible inputs from the law enforcement agencies” were cited as the reason for the postponement of the polls that had been announced on February 13.

The deferment also came after the CEO had issued notifications for the first two phases, scheduled to commence from March 5. The eight-phase election, the first since J&K became a Union Territory on October 31 after the nullification of Article 370, which gave the state its special status, was meant to elect local body representatives for the approximately 12,000 vacant seats. Continue reading


India is taking a crucial step for its Rs 1.2 lakh crore project to produce future nuclear-powered submarines, with top levels of the government processing clearances for the detailed design phase. The plan to build six advanced attack submarines — to be nuclear powered but armed with conventional missiles and torpedoes — is being monitored closely and the first of the boats could roll out in a decade if things go as per plan.

Sources told ET that the initial design phase for the new boats has progressed successfully and more resources will now be deployed to move to the more complex detailed design and construction — to be undertaken by the Directorate of Naval Design (Submarine Design Group) with assistance from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Continue reading


An anti-drone system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be part of the foolproof security arrangements being made for the roadshow of US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on February 24, said officials.

Along with the local police, teams of the Rapid Action Force, the State Reserve Police Force, Chetak Commando and the Anti-Terrorist Squad would be deployed on strategic locations, said special commissioner of police, crime branch, Ajay Tomar. They will work closely with national agencies like the National Security Guard (NSG) and the Special Protection Group (SPG), he said. Continue reading


Rohingya Muslims living in India have started to migrate to Nepal, according to a report by the intelligence agencies sent to the Union Home Ministry. The report states that at least 378 Rohingyas have moved to Nepal and some of them are in touch with real estate brokers to buy land in the land-locked Himalayan nation.

An intelligence agency officer told Zee News that Rohingya planning to migrate to Nepal are on touch with Rohingyas already settled in Nepal and have even paid bribes amounting to thousands of rupees to secure citizenship documents on Nepal. They have also paid between Rs 4,000 to 50,000 to the brokers to settle in Nepal. The report also mentions that some Islamic organisations of Nepal are funding the Rohingyas in settling in the country. One such group is Islami Sangh Nepal and its activities have been found to be extremely suspicious. Continue reading